Living with Type 1 diabetes: A dancer's story - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Living with Type 1 diabetes: A dancer's story

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Trempealeau, WI (WXOW) - - For Annie Holliday it's all about rhythm. Dance is an extension of herself and to each routine, she brings a focus and an intensity.

"I love to dance 'cause I can just go and relax and be me and let the music through me,” Holliday said.

With each step, she keeps track of time. She needs to.

Holliday has Type 1 diabetes. It means her body doesn't make enough insulin. At least five times a day she tests her blood and relies on an insulin pump to make sure her body can convert sugar and starches into energy.

"This pokes the finger and then takes the blood,” Holliday said while checking her blood sugar levels. She wears an pump that puts insulin into her body based on her blood glucose and how many carbohydrates she eats.

"If I don't punch in enough for a certain meal or something, then I can get super high and I'll just feel really sick and not good. Or if I punch in too much then I'll end up going low,” Holliday said.

It's a diagnosis she received at age five. She's now 13. But for her mom, Cheryl, it's a snapshot of life she can never ignore.

"You just worry that they're going to fall asleep in the night and not wake up,” Cheryl Holliday said. “She has woken up in the night and came to me and said, 'I've felt low' and she is ... You never rest completely just worrying is she going to be OK.”

Having Type 1 even makes Annie miss a beat or two in dance class.

"Sometimes I think I can be that good, but I have to test, so I can't be that good,” Annie Holliday said about practicing around the clock. She does spend 20 hours per week practicing at Misty's Dance Unlimited.

"Her first trip after the doctor and her diagnosis was to get a new pair of jazz shoes,” said owner Misty Lown. “So she is not one who gives up easily and we have every bit of respect and admiration for that. But sometimes we do have to step in and say it's OK to take a day off just to let everything settle.”

But Holliday hardly missteps as she's dancing through life with this disease that has no cure. Annie Holliday dances to her own rhythm.

Holliday has been selected as the 2014-2015 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation La Crosse Ambassador.

She'll serve as the face for JDRF La Crosse, work to inspire people with Type 1 and show the community how she doesn't let diabetes take control of her life.

Holliday will also lead the Walk to Cure Diabetes on Oct. 5 at Myrick Park.

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